Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Carbide and Nitride Based Fuel Processing Catalysts

Technology #2446


Hydrogen gas has a number of important industrial applications including in petroleum refining, powering fuel cells, in production and processing of chemicals, and in semi-conductor materials manufacture. The earth’s supply of hydrogen does not exist as large deposits of hydrogen gas, but is carried on other widely available molecules such as water or as hydrocarbons from petroleum oil or coal. As a result, hydrogen gas for use in the industrial application mentioned above is usually produced from water and hydrocarbon starting materials with a series of catalytic steps which generally provide hydrogen gas along with by products including oxygen, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.


Researchers at University of Michigan have developed catalysts for the water gas shift reaction. The catalysts are synthesized by bringing a solid group 6 metal carbide or nitride into contact with an aqueous solution of a late transition metal, separating the solids from the resulting supernatant, drying the solids, and heating the solids to a temperature suitable for producing the catalyst composition containing the late transition metal supported on the group 6 carbide or nitride.

Applications and Advantages


  • Hydrocarbon and fuel feedstock catalysis


  • More active and selective than-nl-current catalysts for the water gas-nl-shift reaction